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The Best Whiskey For Irish Coffee

Will Beck
Last Updated: February 28th, 2023

Irish Coffee is among the most popular morning cocktails next to the mimosa. Technically, to be considered an Irish coffee, all you need is coffee and whiskey, but there are many variations on the cocktail, including the types of whiskey used.

We’re breaking down the best whiskey for Irish coffee so you can start your day off with the perfect caffeinated buzz.

The Irish Coffee

the irish coffee

Irish coffee is a type of cocktail that is made by adding whiskey to hot coffee. The traditional recipe for Irish coffee calls for sugar, cream, and whiskey.

However, there are many different ways to make the drink and some recipes call for additional ingredients such as Bailey’s Irish Cream or espresso.

Irish coffee is typically served in a glass mug or cup, with the cream floating on top of the drink. The drink is usually garnished with a dusting of cocoa powder or cinnamon.

The drink originated in Ireland, and it is said that it was created as a way to warm up cold American travelers.

Irish coffee became popular in the United States in the 1950s, and it has since become a mainstay of American culture. While there are many variations in the traditional recipe, the essential element is the whiskey.

The type of whiskey used can vary, but Irish whiskey is the most commonly used.

Best Irish Whiskey to Use in an Irish Coffee

When it comes to Irish Coffee, there are a few factors to consider when choosing the best whiskey.

The first is smoothness. Irish whiskey is typically smoother than bourbon or rye, with less competing flavor. This makes it a good choice for coffee, as the bold flavour of the coffee can easily overwhelm more delicate notes in the whiskey.

The second factor is price. While there are some costly Irish whiskey brands, there are also some more affordable and very good-quality whiskeys.

Finally, it is important to consider personal preference. Some people prefer the smoky flavor of peated whiskey, while others prefer the sweetness of single malt.

Ultimately, the best whiskey for Irish coffee is the one that you enjoy drinking, so if one comes to mind, grab that.

Still unsure of where to start for your Irish whiskey? Check out our list below to find the perfect addition to your morning joe.

Jameson Irish Whiskey

jameson irish whiskey
Image: GotIreland

Jameson Irish Whiskey is a classic choice for an Irish coffee. The smooth, creamy flavor of Jameson pairs well with the rich taste of coffee, and the whiskey’s character helps cut through the cream’s sweetness.

There are many variations of Irish whiskey, but not all of them are well suited for use in an Irish coffee. For the best cocktail, you should choose a smooth and flavourful whiskey. Jameson Irish Whiskey is bottled at 80 proof (40% ABV) and fits this bill perfectly.

This iconic Irish whiskey is triple distilled and dates back to 1740 before there was a minimum requirement for aging.

Jameson is known for its slightly floral aroma on the nose with hints of spicy sweetness, which leads to a palate of spicy caramel notes combined with subtle notes of vanilla and almonds. The finish is smooth with notes of sherry and sweet fruit.

Lastly, Jameson’s long history and reputation for quality make it a safe bet when it comes to choosing an Irish whiskey for your coffee.

Teeling Irish Whiskey

teeling irish whiskey
Image: Dominic Lockyer

Teeling Irish Whiskey is crafted by blending together select grain and malt Whiskey casks, which are matured in traditional oak casks for up to seven years before being finished for approximately six months in barrels previously used to develop rum.

After this secondary aging process, the Whiskey is bottled at 92 proof without using chill filtration. Teeling says their aim was “to create a new Irish Whiskey that is a contemporary salute to our own provenance and stands out for its quality and flavor.” And this whiskey does not disappoint.

It has a rich flavor with notes of caramel and vanilla, and the finish is smooth and pleasantly sweet. Plus, with the higher proof, it will add a serious kick to your coffee and will not be for the faint of heart.

Paddy Old Irish Whiskey

paddy old irish whiskey
Image: Julie (thanks for 12 million views)

Paddy Old Irish Whiskey is a smooth and accessible whiskey that is light and balanced. Paddy pays tribute to the salesman who sold Cork Distillery’s whiskey to pubs. He became so beloved that the whiskey was officially renamed in his honor.

Today, it is made from malted and unmalted barley and uses locally sourced water sourced from the river Dungourney.

It’s a triple-distilled blend of grain, malt, and pot-still whiskey, each component contributing to the smoothness and flavor consisting of floral notes, a toasted biscuit from the malt, and creaminess from the pot-still.

Paddy Old Irish Whiskey is an excellent choice for use in an Irish coffee. Its flavor profile will complement the coffee without overwhelming it, and its smoothness will make it a pleasure to drink.

At $19.99 for a 750ml bottle, it is also an affordable option for those looking to enjoy a classic Irish coffee without breaking the bank.

Bourbon, Rye, Scotch For Irish Coffee

When it comes to making an Irish coffee, the type of whiskey you use is entirely up to personal preference. If Irish whiskey isn’t available, any type of whiskey will do.

Bourbon, Rye, and Scotch all have their own unique flavor profiles that can add different qualities to the cocktail.

Bourbon is known for its sweetness, while rye is known for its spiciness. Scotch, on the other hand, is known for its smoky flavor.

If you want a sweeter Irish coffee, go with bourbon. If you prefer a spicier drink, opt for rye. And if you want a drink with a smoky flavor, scotch is the way to go.

A few non-Irish whiskeys to consider for your coffee include Jack Daniel’s, Glenmorangie a Tale of Cake, and Rittenhouse Rye.

Jack Daniel’s For Irish Coffee

jack daniel’s for irish coffee

Jack Daniel’s is a smooth, easy-drinking Tennessee Whiskey that has long been a favorite of bartenders and cocktail lovers alike.

While it is not technically a bourbon, it shares many of the same characteristics, including a sweet, slightly fruity flavor.

This makes it a perfect choice for an Irish Coffee, as the sweetness will complement the coffee without overpowering it.

Banana notes in Jack Daniel’s also pair well with the chocolate and caramel flavors often found in Irish Cream, creating a rich and decadent drink.

Glenmorangie a Tale of Cake for Irish Coffee

glenmorangie a tale of cake for irish coffee
Image: Karli Watson

While scotch may not typically suit a cocktail well, there are a few that were made for mixing specifically.

X by Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch Whisky for Irish Coffee is the one to go with if you’re craving the stereotypical scotch flavors to make a truly unique cocktail.

This is the first expression from Glenmorangie that was made exclusively for mixing. It was crafted with the help of top bartenders, making it sweeter and richer, which complements and stands out in all types of mixers.

This expression boasts vanilla, pear, orange sherbet & chocolate fudge flavors, which go perfectly with any mixer.

Whether you’re looking to add sophistication to a classic cocktail or want to try something new, X by Glenmorangie is one of the most versatile Scotch whiskies in today’s market.

Rittenhouse Rye for Irish Coffee

rittenhouse rye for irish coffee
Image: Sam

Rittenhouse Rye is a type of whiskey that is aged for a minimum of four years. It is distilled and aged in new, charred American oak casks.

It’s a solid addition to any cocktail, but the Irish coffee in particular because of its sweet flavor profile and is bottled-in-bond at 100 proof. This will not make a weak drink.

Rittenhouse rye has an aroma of cocoa, toasted rye, and oak spices, along with hints of vanilla and caramel.

Notes of rich, intense chocolate, cloves, and spices dominate the palate and are balanced by sweeter notes of vanilla, orange zest, and raisins. The finish is long, with touches of cocoa beans, baking spices, and allspice.

Best Whiskey For Irish Coffee – Conclusion

Experiment with different types of whiskey and see which one you prefer in your Irish coffee. You might be surprised at how much the drink’s flavor can change depending on the type of whiskey you use.

About The Author

Will Beck

Will is a true digital nomad, taking his work on the road at every opportunity. His first love is coffee, with whiskey a close 2nd. He loves nothing more than enjoying a perfectly brewed coffee with spectacular scenery whilst he coordinates behind the scenes of the Drink Stack blog!

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